We had a dramatic Shabbos morning experience several weeks ago.
We awakened to pouring rain. Our in-house wandering Jew, a/k/a Moishey Sander, had left to shul later than his father and brother did, while the females of the house were still sleeping. As is Moishey’s Shabbos morning habit, he runs around town collecting Torah booklets from various shuls in the neighborhood. No amount of talking, convincing, threatening makes Moishey stop doing this. We have tried everything, short of a leash…
While my daughter and I were sipping our Shabbos morning coffees we suddenly heard Moishey’s signature banging on the outer door of the house. We both rushed to the door, opened it and gasped. There stood Moishey, on Shabbos morning, holding a large umbrella over his head!
I had two colliding thoughts at the moment: Chillul Shabbos!, and OMG! – who saw him traipsing around town with this over-sized umbrella?!?!
And then I turned ashamed of myself and started to berate myself: You are ‘embarrassed’ by public reaction to Moishey’s actions? You, who were the only young woman in the community when he was born and you walked out proudly with him, head held high, enduring thousands of stares and whispers that accumulated into roars? You, who tries to impress upon others that our children are nothing to be embarrassed of? You, yes you, are now concerned about who saw him on Shabbos with an umbrella?!?!
After this self-reprimand that lasted mere milliseconds, my daughter and I looked at each other and burst out laughing. We laughed so hard until we had to hold our stomachs because the scene in front of us was really funny…and at that moment, past epiphanies all came together. Moishey may be well into adulthood, he may even be the poster child of Down syndrome for some, but we need to resign ourselves to the fact that there is just so much we can do, so much that we can be mechanech, and ultimately, we need to accept that which brings nachas to Hashem and to us, as well as that which brings initial chagrin.
With our emotions somewhat in check, we then explained to Moishey the issur of carrying an umbrella on Shabbos. He expressed remorse. Will he control himself the next time it rains on Shabbos and his impulsiveness makes him reach for an umbrella yet again? Who knows…
My husband had the zchus recently of being mekayem the mitzvah of Shluach Haken. Birds had built a nest right above our dining room window. Once we realized the opportunity, my husband studied the halachos of the mitzvah and then got to work. He borrowed a very tall ladder in order to climb up and get a glimpse into the nest to ascertain whether there were, in fact, eggs there.
In his research, my husband learned that the father bird sits on the eggs for most of the day, then ‘flies the coop’, only to have the mother bird take over sitting. This transition occurs at around dusk.
So, when he climbed up mid-afternoon to get a close-up look into the nest, the father bird had been perched comfortably on the eggs. As soon as my husband approached, the father spread his wings and flew off until my husband finished his examination of the birds’ dwelling.
As dusk fell, we observed the ‘changing of the guard’ and the mother bird took her place over the eggs.
As night fell, my husband once again climbed the ladder in order to perform this mitzvah k’halacha. But the mother bird wouldn’t budge. She just sat there and stared at my husband, as if to say ‘nobody is going to touch my future babies’. It took a lot of coaxing to get her to leave.
We were astonished, and a very powerful lesson became crystal clear. As much as fathers love their children, nothing can compare to a mother’s love, care and protection. The birds taught us something important that certainly applies to human beings too.
When it comes to decisions regarding a baby, it is the mother’s ruling that should ultimately prevail. No father, no husband, no outsider can ever understand a mother’s heart and feelings to her babies. Therefore, it is the Mommies of Klal Yisroel whose sentiments should be considered when deciding the fate of their children’s and families’ futures.
Best wishes for a wonderful summer!
See you again on January 3, 2024 iy’H.